Sharjah Book Authority’s New Awards Honor Rights Professionals

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During this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair Publishers Conference, rights professionals will win two new awards.

International rights professionals arrive early at the international trading floor at Sharjah International Book Fair’s Publishers Conference 2021 in the United Arab Emirates. Image: Publishing Perspectives: Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

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Two ‘Sharjah Rights Connection Awards’ Will Debut

When it comes to the international book industry’s deep field of publishing awards, categories that honor translation rights professionals are rare. The Sharjah Book Authority on Sunday (September 18) announced that it has opened two new awards—one for publishing-house rights professionals and the other for independent pros working with translation rights agencies.

But how rare are such recognitions of rights professionals’ critical work? Only a couple of precedents come to mind:

  • There’s the British Book Awards—the “Nibbies”—which include among their more-than 31 categories a “rights professional of the year,” this year won by Jessica Neale of Jamie Byng’s Edinburgh-based Canongate.
  • And then there’s the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards feature a Rights Professional Award, which was won this year by Barcelona-based Anna Soler-Pont of the Pontas Agency for literature and film.

Our regular readers, in fact, may recall who sponsored that award at London Book Fair: Sharjah Book Authority. It seems that the authority’s chairman Ahmed Al Ameri may in April already have had in mind the “Sharjah Rights Connection Award” in its dual-format for both publishing-house rights specialists and those who work in agencies, perhaps even the all-important scouts. Sharjah, you’ll recall, was the Market Focus guest-of-honor at this year’s London Book Fair.

Al Ameri: ‘Rights Professionals Play a Pivotal Role’

In talking about the new awards—the submissions period for which will run to October 7—Al Ameri says, “Over the past decade, Sharjah Book Authority has been proud to put rights trading at the center of our activities as a fitting reflection of its role at the core of the publishing industry.

Ahmed Al Ameri

“Protection of copyright and related rights of creators is vital to disseminate knowledge and ensure the sustainability of the international publishing industry. We’re pleased with our efforts in this area to date and delighted to put those who are the superstars of the international rights world in the spotlight with the Rights Connection Award.

“Rights professionals play a pivotal role in safeguarding the intellectual capital of creators from infringement or unlicensed usage, enabling authors and creators to work freely and enhance their creativity. Our new award for rights professionals reflects the vision of Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi to foster the development of knowledge, culture, and creative environment in Sharjah and the UAE, and to support the development of the global publishing industry.

“The new award also bolsters the position and role of the UAE in stimulating and encouraging creative industries and enhancing global competitiveness in this sector.”

The awards are a new feature of this year’s 12th edition of the Sharjah fair’s Publishers Conference, a professional program that was opened in 2011. A part of each year’s programming in the conference is long afternoons of one-on-one meetings for rights professionals.

Sharjah Book Authority reports that since the conference was established, the Sharjah International Book Fair (November 2 to 13) translation grant has supported the publication of 1,672 books in 41 languages and/or territories.

Submission Criteria and Notes

At Sharjah International Book Fair’s 2021 Publishers Conference. Image: SIBF

These two new honors for rights professionals join three other categories in the book authority’s overall basket of Sharjah Publisher Recognition Awards:

  • Best Local Publisher
  • Best Arab Publisher
  • Best International Publisher

Each of those three categories carries a purse of 25,000 UAE dirhams (US$6,806).

The Arabian collared kingfisher at Kalba, Sharjah, April 17. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Jeff Kingma

Those interested in nominating rights professionals are directed to the Sharjah International Book Fair site here. Nominations for this year’s inaugural awards close October 7.

From the Book Authority: “International rights professionals can nominate themselves or be endorsed by their companies to be eligible for either of the two categories of the Sharjah Rights Connection Award. Submissions must be made in English with two 500-word testimonials from clients that the nominated professional currently works with to make a compelling case for why they should win the award. Only individuals can apply, team submissions will not be accepted.

“Applicants must specify the category they ‘re applying for together with personal contact details. Applicants can also volunteer information not exceeding 1,000 words on the growth of their business during the previous year, successful deals clinched, innovations, partnerships, and other achievements, with supporting images.”

Winners will be announced during the Sharjah International Book Fair Publishers Conference in November.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 166th report on awards-related news published in the 174 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Sharjah is here, more on Sharjah Book Authority is here, more on Sharjah International Book Fair is here, more on London Book Fair is here, more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on publishing’s trade shows, book fairs, and festivals is here, and more on international book and publishing awards is here

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London’s The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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